Feted by captains of industry, Modi shifts Guj economic gear

Gujaratís growth model a lesson for many developing countries, says CM at 6th Virbant Gujarat summit as Ambanis, Tata, Godrej, Mahindra and others hail him

GN Bureau | January 11, 2013


Vibrant Gujarat

Feted as the “leader of leaders, king of kings” by Anil Ambani and hailed by the crème de la crème of Indian industry, Narendra Modi was the toast of Gandhinagar, in fact all of Gujarat, on Friday as ‘Vibrant Gujarat-2013’ got under way in the state capital.

As captains of Indian industry heaped praises, the Gujarat chief minister promised to move the state into a more dynamic mode as he got ready to shift gear.

Delivering the keynote address to the gathering, comprising business leaders from India and several countries, Modi, fresh from his third assembly election victory, said the first phase of Gujarat's growth is over and that the state is stepping into a more dynamic phase. Gujarat’s is a lesson for many developing countries, he said.

"Our development model has been recognised internationally and replicated by other states…. It has brought smiles on the faces of millions of people," he said.

Emphasising that the 21st century will be India's century, provided "we build on the three pillars of skill, speed and scale", Modi said, "Gujarat is the number one (state) in economic freedom in India and the country will be rich with the power of youth.”

He also promised to enhance the income of farmers through the use of scientific agricultural techniques. "We promise Wi-Fi connectivity across the state and will take measures to make small and cottage industries stronger," he noted.

The industrialists did not shy away from heaping praise on Modi for creating a vibrant environment for business to survive and flourish. Calling Modi the “leader of leaders, king of kings”, Anil Ambani, group chairman of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), said, “He dreams with his eyes open, and has an open heart and mind.”

He also said that Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Dhuribhai Ambani and Modi are the “key Gujarat heroes”.

Elder brother Mukesh Ambani, meanwhile, used the occasion to announce investment worth Rs 1,00,000 crore in the state. “RIL is first a Gujarati company, then an Indian company and later a global company. The RIL will invest Rs 1 lakh crore in Gujarat over the next few years,” Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), said.

The biennial summit, which brought in excess of Rs 20 lakh crore investments in 2011 amid the overall economic blues, is expected to get 14,000 MoUs with the investment-friendly state

Canada is a partner country at the sixth edition of the global investor’s summit, dubbed Vibrant Gujarat. But the surprise ace in Modi’s pack was the United Kingdom, which had snapped ties with the state after the 2002 riots but is now re-engaging with the Narendra Modi government by participating in the summit.

Who said what about Modi:

Ratan Tata, recently retired as chairman, Tata Sons: Modi should be credited for the achievements of Gujarat in drawing investments. The state has become vibrant, attractive and new investment destination…. One would be stupid to not be in Gujarat.

Anand Mahindra, group chairman, Mahindra and Mahindra: I don't know what's in the soil of Gujarat that makes such successful entrepreneurs.… Gujaratis are free from fear of failure and perhaps there lies their success in business ventures. We will soon have a Gujarat model of growth in China.

Adi Godrej, chairman, Godrej group: Gujarat is heading in the right direction if India is to emulate China’s growth story.

Amitabh Kant, CEO, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC): Gujarat is creating new cities to benefit from DMIC.

Takeshi Yagi, Japanese envoy: India is the key export base for Japan firms, and Gujarat is the key to DMIC infrastructural investments.

Ron Summers, president, US-India Business Council: How many countries or states can boast of a double-digit growth in the depressed global environment? Modi has set a new benchmark for progress all over, (and) not only India.

Patrick Brown, Member of Parliament, Canada: Thirty percent Indians in Canada are in fact Gujaratis and they have led to the development of the country.

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